PRESS RELEASE - August 31, 2020
United Religions Initiative (URI) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) signed a cooperation agreement to work in partnership for the preservation of the environment at a global level.
The agreement was signed by The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian, Jr, Executive Director of URI, and Ms. Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.
The two organizations have agreed to work in partnership in the following areas of cooperation:
- To collaborate and maintain a close and continuing working partnership on the issue of faith and environmental sustainability;
- To enhance and facilitate interfaith cooperation and foster a consistent working partnership between UNEP and religious leaders from different faith traditions on environmental sustainability issues;
- To promote the role of religious leaders in the stewardship of Mother Earth; ensuring the health and productivity of ecosystems and conserving biological diversity for human well-being, and creating public awareness through churches, mosques, temples, synagogues and other worship places on the importance of environmental pillars in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals;
- To mobilize interfaith and faith-based organizations, and religious and spiritual leaders, for the implementation of the Faith for Earth & Interfaith Rainforest Initiative of UNEP;
- To enhance the participatory contribution of faith-based organizations to bridging policy and operational gaps aimed at implementing the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals;
- To actively engage followers of different religions in environmental campaigns;
- To collaborate in promoting the Green Rule Initiative, which says, “Do unto the Earth as you would have it do unto you,” as indicated in different holy books; and
- To observe World Environment Day on the 5th of June of each year.
United Nations Environment Programme is the leading organization within the United Nations system in the field of environment and has, as a major area of focus of its global mandate, the conservation, protection, enhancement and support of nature and natural resources, including biological diversity, worldwide.
UNEP has also the mandate to catalyze action to protect the environment through enhanced engagement and collaboration with major groups and actors to enhance the participation of all concerned citizens who share the same purpose around the world. It has launched the Faith for Earth Initiative to inspire action by faith leaders on environmental issues, to facilitate greening of faith-based investments, and to link scientific knowledge to religious teachings on the environment.
URI is a global grassroots interfaith network that cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world. The purpose of URI is to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously-motivated violence, and to create cultures of peace, justice, and healing for the Earth and all living beings.
URI has NGO consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN. URI is also an associate with the United Nations Department of Global Communications, previously known as the Department of Public Information (DPI).
URI envisions a world at peace, sustained by engaged and interconnected communities committed to respect for diversity, nonviolent resolution of conflict, and social, political, economic, and environmental justice.
URI implements its mission through local and global initiatives that build the capacity of its 1,061 member groups and organizations in 108 countries, called Cooperation Circles, to engage in community action such as conflict resolution and reconciliation, environmental sustainability, education, women’s empowerment, youth and children’s programs, advocacy for human rights, and promoting a culture of peace and interfaith harmony.
Amb. Mussie Hailu
Director of Global Partnership & Representative at the UN and
African Union and Regional Director for Africa
United Religions Initiative